Andy McEntee's compelling take on championship reform

Meath manager speaks to Off The Ball about sustainability issues and provincial championships

BY Raf Diallo 21:02 Monday 27 March 2017, 21:02 27 Mar 2017

Meath manager Andy McEntee speaks to his players ©INPHO/Colm OÕNeill

Meath manager Andy McEntee feels the situation for GAA club players are becoming unsustainable.

The issue of reforming fixtures has been gaining traction in recent months and McEntee, who has experienced life as a club player, inter-county player, club manager and now inter-county boss, has seen the problem for different angles as he discussed with Off The Ball

"I think it's really tough on the modern day club player. I mean, I've seen it in Ballyboden," he said.

"You train from January, you get one championship game at the end of April. Everything's on hold then. Dublin win the All Ireland more often than not and then you have the sprint to the finish where you're playing four games in the space of five weeks to win a Dublin Championship and I'm just not so sure that's sustainable. I don't know how many players are going to do that." 

He added that, "If there are no games in the summer, lads are going to go away. I understand that. I wouldn't argue with that." 

Continuing on the issue, he said, "You have something like under 2% of the playing population of the GAA dictating the full season for the rest of the playing population. I'm not so sure that's sustainable. I think eventually the whole fabric of the GAA world can become undone if club players don't want to play football.

"What is a county player? He's a good club player and if your club aren't producing players, you're going to be in trouble."

One solution that has occasionally been mooted could involve changing or even scrapping the traditional provincial championships, with Dublin winning 11 of the last 12 Leinster Football Championships for example.

When asked if he thoughts players would be happy for the provincial championships to be removed, McEntee pondered, "I think if you asked players, why wouldn't they? And I don't mean to respect years of tradition or provincial councils but how many players in Leinster at the moment, over the last number of years, genuinely believe they'll win a Leinster Championship? How many counties have a genuine chance? So that makes it not a great competition as such. So it loses its appeal."  

McEntee also looked back at his own inter-county playing days with Meath and his fond memories of operating under the management of the county's legendary former boss Sean Boylan.

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